Not what I wanted but all that I needed: Why I chose Jesus
Although no one likes to go through difficult times, it is from difficult times that we often learn life’s greatest lessons. This is my story. It was September 1999-I was nineteen years young at the time, just over a year removed from high school graduation and attending East Los Angeles College. Like many young people, I did not know what I wanted to do with my life. What I did know is that I was depressed, lonely, and unhappy with the state of my life. Just as I thought that the solution must be getting a girlfriend,
I met two girls on the bus one day: Brenda and Jacky. Brenda caught my attention, not only because she was attractive, but because she was sitting right next to me. She tried to be slick as she talked to Jacky about me in a low voice. However, I was not as unassuming as I appeared, and understood what was going on-even without knowing exactly what they were saying.
Naturally, then, I decided to break the ice by saying "Hi." I introduced myself and they introduced themselves. Brenda and I made all the regular small talk that students make (and occasionally I acknowledged Jacky). We only talked briefly, since my stop was close by. However, I started to see them periodically at school, usually both of them together. We became good friends. Although I was interested in Brenda, (who was single and seemed to be very interested in me) I was intrigued to find out that Jacky was Christian. Throughout my life, I’d never had a Christian friend, and had never read the Bible at all. Jacky, however, told me that the Bible talks about things that are still relevant today. Out of curiosity, I began reading my Bible every day.
This turned out to have greater significance than I thought it would. As Brenda and I began having long phone conversations every other day, it appeared just a matter of time before we’d be together. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep this hope to myself. One night, while hanging out with some friends in a motel, I got drunk and laid down on a bed, Depressed after three nights without sleep obsessing over Brenda and women in general. Later, I talked about Brenda, bragged about the time I was at her house for two hours recently and claimed she would be my girlfriend soon. My friend Alex especially took notice of this, since I got his friend Alfredo mad at him the year before. Alex had told his closest friends (in confidence) that Alfredo cheated on his girlfriend Maggie while in Mexico and deeply regretted it-and would hate for Maggie to find out. Since I was infatuated with her at the time, I wrote her a letter telling her about it.
It was time, Alex decided, to get even with me. He knew Jacky, and told her another version of what I said at the motel: that I claimed we were dating and were already together. Jacky relayed this to Brenda, who called me up one night (Right after my Atlanta Braves lost the World Series) to tell me what she had heard. Naturally, I got defensive, angry, and, although I didn’t lose her friendship, it was never the same after that. We didn’t talk on the phone much and I lost any possible chance I had of being with her. This was depressing; however, I, a Catholic, began attending an Evangelical church with Jackie as well as a Bible study at her house every Friday. My depression, which was worse than it had ever been, and the message of hope I was hearing brought me to the conclusion that only God can fill up the emptiness in my heart.
At the same time, my romantic loneliness was not gone. Thus, I became infatuated with Jackie and almost decided to change my religion in hopes of having a chance with her-even though she already had a boyfriend! However, by January of 2000 I decided against doing so, since I was not even familiar enough with my own religion. In addition, I would have had my eyes on Jackie more than on Jesus. I knew that change in my life would be difficult-I had to forgive Alex, learn to be humble, and strive to leave behind (among other things) my constant slavery to lust. I did not know what God had in store for me, and I was sure to be ridiculed by many. In the end, I did not get what I had prayed for since tenth grade-a girlfriend. However, I got what was most important: Jesus as the center of my life.